4 Apr 2020

WORLD WIDE SPRING CLEANING

Another day of confinement, and the sun is shining and everybody wants to go outside to get something from the sun and the fresh air. But we can't we are not allowed to go out for our own protection and it is really not nice of the sun to shine now when we are all locked in, while it rained for weeks when we were free.

I am lucky, I live outside the big city Brussels, I have a garden and could walk or sit in there, I even could do some garden work ! I am so free as a bird in a big cage. But the poor people living in a multi store building in small apartments with a bunch of kids it must be hell to keep them inside.

We never had a natural catastrophe here were I live. Not even a flooding or a hurrican.

And then arrived this vicious virus brought into all European countries by travelling tourists just after the Carnival holidays. No country escaped and then it went across the whole world to all other continents not one corner escaped. This had never happened before.

All other catastrophes were local like theTsunami, or hurricans etc.

But now, even the politicians in the whole world are not protected by an army they are as helpless as we are.  And there is nothing to do against. We can go on the moon but we can't kill a little virous ! A lot of money was spent on the discovery of the outer space and to be able to walk on the moon instead of taking care of our planet and the healthcare has been rather neglected in many countries. Everything was more important then the health of the people.

Now those we have elected to govern the countries are also sitting deeply in the sh...t and some of them even got the evil virus. 

The world will never be the same after that ! Nature has send us a spring cleaning (or an intensive cleaning) for the whole world !

In Venice the canals are blue again and even Swans are coming back. Never seen birds are suddenly in the parks, animals who hid from humans are coming out. Now we are in the zoo behind grids and they are watching us.

The streets are empty, the air fresh, no smog anymore, our world has never been so clean since ages.



Venice after spring cleaning




Linking to Linda H.Hills SOCS-deep

3 Apr 2020

FRIDAY's FAVE FIVE


Another week went by with a few more dead and a few more people infected. I am always angry with the Belgian Television News because they never tell how many people have survived the virus and could go home. Fortunately there are other sources so we can be a bit more hopeful. Apparently the situation is slighly better, and we all hope that by April 18 they will start to release us slowly slowly.

Monday afternoon the sun was shining but it was quite cool. We met at Myriam's wanted to play scrabble the three of us, but then preferred to chat. Outside it rained cats and dogs and it was dark. The confinement rules in our area are well respected and the police doesn't have too much to do. Sometimes a few youngsters who a gathering and are too close together, but usually after a warning they behave.

To comfort me a little, I got an email from our Estate Agent, that he had an offer for our house. He forwarded it to me and I checked, it was OK there were only two little things which I didn't like. But this couple is so interested to buy our house that they agreed to everything and sent a rectified contract.

I was very happy. Mr. G. was more interested in the apartment which I had found and where he would live and when he realized that it was in the middle of our little town, near his Whist Club and friends he was happy too. 



The next day the sun was shining again and we met at Nicole and sat in the warm sunshine. Cat Isis was sitting on the wall and we thought she would jump one floor deeper into the garden, Nicole picked her up, and put her down,  but she returned immediately and continued to observe what she had seen.



Nothing interesting in the flower pot.


My shoes were very interesting to play with again. The air was a bit fresh, but in the sunshine it was nice and warm. The world seemed to be nearly normal again.

Suddenly I smelled smoke and thought somebody made a barbecue, but at 4 pm, was a bit strange. I looked around and in the garden beneath Nicole's terrace a stub of a tree had started to burn !



The neighbor had let his dog run in the garden, and had smoked a cigarette. He hadn't thrown the cigarette on the ground, but apparently a bit of ash has fallen into this very dry stump. Nicole called the neighbor and both came with buckets of water to extinguish the fire. Of course it smoked even more. Later we checked again, but the stump was so wet that no flame had a chance to become a fire. Now we saw life how it can happen so quickly and with just a spark of glowing ash !

Today we signed the agreement for the sale of our house and I sent the signed copy per email to our agent. So at least the paper work is done. We can't go to the notary of course because her office is closed. We have to wait until the confinment is lifted.

But I drove to two apartments which on pictures looked real nice and were located exactly where I wanted, so I contacted the estate agency and left my name and phone number. As soon as it is possible we will visit it.

All this let me forget the misery around me, but when the first joy disappeared slowly, I felt again that my life is not normal at all and the empty streets and closed shops confirm this fact. The nightmare continues although I try hard to make the best out of it not to fall into a deep black hole.

Now all countries in the world realize that their health equipment  is far from being enough, masks and other protections at least for the nurses and doctors are missing badly in all countries and let people become creative. Masks are made by companies which normally produce something completely different and a lot of women are sewing masks for the hospitals. Fortunately we have enough space for intensive care in the hospitals, only two university hospitals had a lack of space but outside Brussels there is again space for intensive care. Nurses are missing too, but medical students from the Universities are helping out as volunteers. That's the positive side of this situation there are a lot of very good and generous people !








more participants at Susanne at Living to tell the Story.


1 Apr 2020

31 Mar 2020

GARDA LAKE ITALY

Lake Garda isn’t just one of the most beautiful lakes in Italy, boasting picturesque towns, a rich history, and striking beauty; it’s also Italy’s largest lake. Spread across three regions (Lombardy in the west, Veneto in the east and Trentino-Alto Adige in the north)

I think it is the Lake in the whole world I know the best ! Each pebble on beaches the little towns around, because Mr. G. was born and lived in the part of Trentino-Alto  Adige in the north and for 15 years each summer we went there to visit the family. 









For surfers it's a paradise and also for sailing boats














Read more about the Garda Lake in my COUNTRIES & CITIES Blog




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30 Mar 2020

AWWW MONDAY - WEEKEND MARS 28







Hello !



Linking to AWWW MONDAYS
******



We are still confined in our homes and have to find occupations. Mr. G. plays cards with his computer because his Whist Club is closed. So he spends his time between computer and TV.

But he also does the shopping and went on Saturday morning to Aldi to buy his stuff and my "Mousse au chocolat". Now the older people don't have to line up, they can go straight ahead to the entrance, where they get a humid tissue to clean the caddie bar. He found everything he needed and returned home.

I did almost the same except I didn't go out shopping but I also spend my time between computer and TV. What else should I do ?

Nicole called and asked Myriam and me to come over, because she needed a bit company. We were only too happy to follow the invitation. It was warm and I could even sit only in a T-shirt on the Terrace. But at 5 it became cool and we went inside.





Little Isis kept us company and fell in love with my shoes, she pushed them around and tried to put her head inside.

Sunday was an awful day ! A strong ice cold wind and a grey sky ! The sunny week had disappeared. We also had to change our clocks to summertime and went one hour ahead. I personally don't care, one hour difference I don't even realize.

I woke up at 9 which suited me very well, had a coffee washed my hair and recorded some movies on TV. Meanwhile the phone rang and everybody wanted to know if we had survived another day. I also talked to Grandson Toby who spoke to me from Amsterdam. He still is allowed to play with his little friends on their street, which is only occupied by bikes, even in normal times. My son and DIL are working from home and Toby has some homework via internet.

A group of parents in our city organized a collect of broken laptops or laptops which people don't need anymore, they will repair them and give them to children whose parents have no money to buy a computer.

After lunch I watched TV then prepared my Blogs, took some pictures of cat Rosie and suddenly it was suppertime, after supper again TV time and then to bed.

I think I will be able to copy and paste the same text for next weekend and probably the weekend after too !

There is nothing elso to do then being patient that this Virus leaves the whole world. And patience is not really my cup of tea ! I have to learn !


28 Mar 2020

BESIDES ME .... MY PHONE

While I am writing,  just besides me is my smartphone. The reason is that I spend a lot of time on the phone. We are all locked up because of the Coronavirus and can only go out shopping for food or to the pharmacy.

Therefore for the moment my smartphone is my only connection to my friends and family, as my family lives in Amsterdam and we are not allowed to travel to another country. With my friends it's a bit different we all live in the same town, and my two best friends not far, so that from time to time we can go out for a walk together and sit together in our gardens, always respecting the distance of 1.50 m (4.11ft).

I think we all have never lived such a situation and that's why my phone is always besides or with me.

Sometimes I think that I am playing in a film and not the best one. Everything seems to be so unreal, like being stopped and asked where I am going. Has not yet happened to me but to younger people because they were 4 instead of two sitting in  the same car. Two per car are allowed unless you have a very big one where the allowed distance can be kept. Public buses only take 5 people per Bus. 

The good thing is that people who never greeted each other suddenly turn out to be human beings and are very helpful. My husband who is Italian watches each day the RAI the Italian TV channel.  Italy is the country in Europe which the Virus loved the most.

What I admire is the Italian population, they are really united in their misfortune and very brave,  and each evening they are singing on the balconies in honor of the medical staff.

When I think that today I can take my phone and call my little grandson, see him, speak to him and show him things, while when I was a child I had to write to my grandma once I could write but that was not so easy, then buy a stamp and put it on the envelope, walk to the mailbox and then wait for the answer ! This usually lasted nearly a month if she replied immediately it was in the 50th !

So I am thankful to have my phone just besides me, which helps me to keep contact with everybody and not feel too isolated.


Linking to Linda G. Hills SOCS - Beside me

27 Mar 2020

FRIDAY's FAVORITE FIVES

We wanted to start the week as usual with our Scrabble game, but due to the confinement only my two friends Nicole and Myriam met at Nicole's because the others couldn't come, one lived too far, and the second found it to dangerous as she has diabetes  so we were the three of us to share a cake and drink a coffee and sat on the terrace as it was so warm in the sun. Finally we didn't scrabble at all, we were far too lazy !



Although it was still cool we enjoyed the view on the blooming trees and green shrubs.

Myriam and Nicole did a little walk around the garden, while I was watching them from the terrace, because for me the wind was too cold.


I kept company to little Isis who also enjoyed the view sitting on the wall and then on her cat tower. Ever since she slipped and fell down one floor, Nicole has put a grid on the wall but I am sure that poor Isis won't try to jump down again, she was very shocked when Nicole picked her up.

Despite the lockup I had to do some shopping and did it in the afternoon again, because I knew that in the morning everybody rushes to do their shopping.



It was a real pleasure there were no people in the store or maybe a few but I didn't see them the shelves were filled up again and I could buy what I needed.

The next day I was a good girl and stayed the whole day home, we had started a group on Whatsapp with our Scrabble members and as we are all confined at home, we had fun with Whatsapp. We even discovered that we could talk to each other, four persons at the same time. So another day went by, with some more deaths and some more infected people.

And the sun continued to shine and I had the feeling that the ceiling was falling on my head. The same happened to Myriam and Nicole and we decided to do a little walk again



There is a little park just besides Myriam's house as we are not allowed to go further then your own part of the city. Suddenly we saw a police car coming who chased the two young women away who sat there peacefully in the grass and ate a sandwich. I am sure that somebody from the houses around had called them, because in this area you seldom see a policeman. Some people are really disgusting. They hadn't done any harm. The two policemen went away after a few minutes and as they laughed I thought that's good for those who had called them !

We returned to Myriam and sat in the warm sunshine at her swimming pool and thought how lucky we were not to live in the city in a high rise building ! We were almost feeling like holidays. Of course we also keep the required distance, there was enough room for the three of us.

Otherwise each day is the same you can't go far unless you have to drive to  work, but then you have to have a document if ever a police control stops you.

Slowly slowly this vicious virus is arriving in all countries of the world and nobody knows how long this lockup will last !



more participants at Susanne at Living to tell the Story.


25 Mar 2020

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY - MY LOCKED UP LIFE









Japonese Cherry trees in our street


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and Image-in-ing

MY LOCKED UP LIFE

Ever since we are locked up in our homes and are only allowed to go out for food shopping or the pharmacy the weather has changed ! Now we have beautiful sunshine and nature is blooming everywhere, the trees in our street as you can see above are in full bloom.

Of course we can go out but only near where you live and always two people in 1.50 m distance. Unfortunately some people don't respect the rules and played on the grass in the parks or were sitting there and pic nic, so that the mayor closed the parks !

Anyway you can walk on the street,  there is no car or very few. Fortunately you are allowed to walk your dog or even three, but not three humans and one dog ! Police controls that only two persons are sitting in a car or it has to be a whole family.

I had to drive Myriam home we had walked a little bit, but then the wind was so cold and that we returned to my car and she had to sit on the back seat.

Slowly I get used to this life, which seems to me so unreal. I feel as if I am playing in a movie and not a very pleasant one. Fortunately we have Whatsapp and stay in contact with each other. The days go by always the same but today I got some hope, it was the first time since we are locked up, that there was no deaths for two days and less infected people. Maybe there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

The whole world is involved for once, all with the same destiny, the worst affected country is Italy. More deaths than in China.




This is a 16 year old boy who sings from his parent's balcony !

Each evening all Italians go on their balcony or outside and are singing against the Virus !




Linking to One Liner Wednesday

24 Mar 2020

FLOWER CARPET BRUSSELS

As I am locked in and not allowed to go out except for shopping food and medication because of the Coronavirus, I have to dig in my past to find beautiful things I have seen in our world. One of them is the Flower Carpet in Brussels on the Grand'Place

Every two years, since 1986 the non-profit association Tapis de Fleurs brings together a committee of professionals (illustrators, graphic designers, landscape architects) who come up with scale projects, with each edition illustrating a different theme . Once the theme has taken shape in the form of a model and symbols, the number of flowers is calculated and the combinations of colours are established. Several days before the inauguration, a full-size drawing is executed on sheets of micro-perforated plastic that are laid down atop the cobblestones of the Grand-Place.

More than 100 volunteer gardeners put together this giant floral puzzle in less than eight hours. The day before the opening, the spaces between the floral motifs are filled in using rolls of sod. The flowers are so closely-packed that they can´t be blown away, and indeed they create their own microclimate! If there´s a heat wave, the sod is watered to prevent it from wilting. If the weather is too wet, the grass can grow by 4 to 5 centimetres in 3 days, where tourists and Belgians can admire the carpet.

The robust tuberous begonia lends beauty and freshness to the carpet. A native of the West Indies, the Begonias come in a rich palette ranging from the most vivid colours to delicate pastel shades, with in between the many-coloured and white flowers that reflect sunlight so well.

The first flower carpet was layed out in 1971 on the Grand'Place of Brussels. It was the work of the landscape architect Etienne Stautemas, born in Zottegem in 1927. A graduate of the Horticultural College of Ghent, he began to create flower carpets in the early 1950´s.

The first Flower Carpet of Brussels was created in 1971. Since 1986  every two years a new theme is created and the flower carpet appears on the Grand' Place.

Of course ever since I have seen the carpet many times, and never miss this event when I am  not away. The carpet is always displayed mid August for 3 days.


















Arriving or leaving ....

This carpet stems from 2006.



More on my blog Countries & Cities


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23 Mar 2020

AWWW MONDAY - WEEKEND MARCH 21












Linking to AWWW MONDAYS


WEEKEND MARCH 21

This was the first weekend I spent in prison I mean locked up in our own house and instead of doing some household scores because I have so much time, I stared at a crumb and wondered when I should pick it up. But first I couldn't get out of my bed and it was 10 when I finally had the courage to carry myself into the kitchen for a cup of coffee.

I prepared my blog post, interrupted by phone calls. Fortunately that Whatsapp exists, because otherwise I wouldn't recognize my friends when this drama is over. As in the mornings the supermarkets are full and people are checked, I went at 3 pm in a smaller one to buy the creme and coffee and little things I needed, but no food. I should have taken a selfie because I was wearing a mask,  a bonnet and gloves. I got a shock when I saw myself in the mirror. I almost looked like a bank robber ! 

The shop was nearly empty maybe we were 6 in total. You have to pay by card or go into an extra line. For me there was no difference I always pay per card. I quickly did my shopping and returned home, nobody in the streets and only very few cars. It all seems so unreal !

On Sunday morning Myriam started a conversation on Whatsapp with our scrabble group. We had a lot of fun with that and suddenly it was noon !  Mr. G. went to a friend, that's allowed too when you keep the space of 1.50 m between both.

I watched two movies and answered comments and again spent time on the phone, we are not made for being alone, for such a long time.

When will it end, nobody knows exactly  they talk about the 5th of April now, but it certainly depends the country. Italy is the most affected and has the most deaths too.


Brussels center



Gallerie de la Reine



La Bourse



rue Neuve (very busy shopping street)



little side street to the Grand'Place